Friday, March 30, 2012

Major Data Breach Of Visa, MasterCard Payment Processing Company Confirmed

Update 3:30PM PST: Global Payments Inc, the third party payment vendor that was affected by the breach, has issued a statement confirming the breach and setting the access date of early March 2012.

Both Visa and MasterCard are acknowledging a "massive" security breach has occurred at a credit card processor used by both companies that has put an unknown number of accounts at risk.

KrebsonSecurity originally reported the "massive" security breach which was originally estimated at 10 million accounts. The then unknown a credit card processor is now being identified as Global Payments of Atlanta. The Wall Street Journal, is now reporting the breach may only impact about 50,000 cardholders. While substantial, that would be far less than the possible 10 million speculated by KrebsonSecurity.

Update: It is now estimated that between one million and three million cardholders could be affected. No numbers have officially been released.

According to the Journal MasterCard and Visa have both confirmed the potential breach at the third party vendor. However, both have stated that the impact is limited to their site alone and the company's own databases were not affected.

"MasterCard's own systems have not been compromised in any manner," a company spokesman said in a statement. The company will "continue to both monitor this event and take steps to safeguard account information."

Visa said in a statement that it is aware of a possible compromise involving a "third-party entity" affecting card account information from all major card brands.

"There has been no breach of Visa systems, including its core processing network VisaNet," the company said. Visa said it has provided banks with affected account numbers "so they can take steps to protect consumers through independent fraud monitoring and, if needed, reissuing cards."

Despite the fact that the estimated window for the breach was Jan. 21 and Feb. 25, the information was not widely made public until today. Both Visa and MasterCard have stated they have alerted payment card issuers regarding certain accounts that are potentially at risk

Cardholders concerned about their accounts should contact the banks that issued them their cards.

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